In an afternoon full of drama, Sven Goran Eriksson's reign as England coach came to a heart-breaking end in Gelsenkirchen. England lost their captain in the 51st minute through injury, but worse was to come when Wayne Rooney was sent off in the 62nd minute. It was unclear during the game if the hot tempered youngster was sent off for stamping on a player or if it was for pushing Ronaldo after the incident, or both. The official later said the dismissal was for the stamping. Either way, England had to play out the remainder of the game with only 10 men, including 30 minutes of extra time. So frustrating and upsetting that England could not win a game on penalties, they now have a 1-6 record in a penalty shoot-out situation, but some may argue that they should have won the game before penalties sealed their fate. They did have opportunities to score but agonisingly failed, even when a man down. While the sides were evenly matched, England looked much better than previously in this World Cup.
Portugal were forced to make a couple of changes to their line-up with two of their players suspended, having receiving red cards in their previous game. The loss of Deco was their biggest concern. Prior to the match FIFA made the decision to close the roof of the stadium, apparently to prevent shadows for TV viewers. Surprisingly it supposedly made the air in the stadium a bit cooler (reports are that the temperature for the game was 28C) than had the roof been open, due to the material used to construct the roof. For England, there was a return to action for Gary Neville, who had missed his country's previous three World Cup games due to injury. And so to the match....
Beckham had the first real chance of the game in the 7th minute when he took a free-kick which had Ricardo stretching to make the save. Tiago had his own chance of a goal in the 13th minute but he couldn't beat Robinson with his tame shot. Lampard finished the first half with a shot but the midfielder didn't make it count. Within minutes of the re-start Beckham picked up an injury to his ankle and England started to warm-up Lennon. Moments before Beckham saw his World Cup campaign end, he appealed for a penalty when the ball seemed to strike Valente on the arm, but the referee waved for play to continue. Lampard had a good chance but his effort went high above the goal. Maniche fell to the ground in the 57th minute clutching his face but video replays showed there was no contact to his face by Owen Hargreaves, who had a good game for England. Aaron Lennon appeared to be a good replacement for Beckham when he danced past three Portuguese players and into the area where he passed to Rooney, who swung at the ball and missed, which ended up at Joe Cole's feet. The Chelsea player blasted the ball over the bar and a golden opportunity was gone.
It was surprising with Portugal's players diving throughout the game that England was the team to be punished when Wayne Rooney was sent off in the 62nd minute. The incident overshadowed the match and there was more fall-out from it after the match. Rooney tangled with Carvalho and stomped on his groin area but it is debatable if it was Rooney's intention. As Portuguese players crowded the referee protesting Rooney's action, the England striker pushed Ronaldo who seemed to be leading his team-mates in trying to get England down to 10 men. The referee then showed the red card to Rooney for stomping on Carvalho, thus making him the 10th England player to be sent off for his country (the 11th occasion an England player has been sent off - Beckham has received two red cards). England players and fans were incensed with the decision, and more so with Ronaldo's protests. The referee later said that he had already made his decision to send off Rooney prior to protests from the Portuguese players. As it happened, England's remaining 10 players dug in and found the strength to play as though there were 11 players still on their side.
Eriksson quickly substituted Jole Cole and sent on Peter Crouch as the lone striker. The tall forward did play reasonably well but could not put away his chances. There was a sense of hope when Crouch took to the field as England had not lost a game in which he had featured. Sadly this came to an end in this match. With England matching Portugal the game went into extra time. Both teams pressesd for the one goal that would have seemingly won the match but neither could break down their opponents. And so to penalties the game went, with England never having won a penalty shoot-out in the World Cup finals.
The penalty kicks went like this:
England 0-1 Portugal - Sabrosa scored
England 0-1 Portugal - Lampard miss (Ricardo saved the PK)
England 0-1 Portugal - Viana miss (the ball hit the right post and went out)
England 1-1 Portugal - Hargreaves scored
England 1-1 Portugal - Petit miss (the ball went wide)
England 1-1 Portugal - Gerrard miss (Ricardo saved the PK)
England 1-2 Portgual - Postiga scored
England 1-2 Portugal - Carragher miss (scored on his first attempt which was taken before the referee blew his whistle, but his re-taken PK was saved by Ricardo)
England 1-3 Portugal - Ronaldo scored
Heartbreak again for England in a penalty shoot-out. Having played for almost an hour with 10 men with so much heart and determination, England did not deserve to lose this match.
At some point luck has to be on England's side in a penalty shoot-out (Ricardo became the first goalkeeper in World Cup history to save three penalties in a shoot-out). With another trophy campaign having come to a devastating end, England will return home believing they could have gone all the way had they won this match. The manner in which Rooney was sent off will cloud the game and it would seem that Ronaldo will not be welcome by fans in England should he return to Manchester United to play club football. Apparently Ronaldo wants a move to Real Madrid but it remains to be seen if the club wants him.
Post match note: Beckham resigned as England captain the day after England's elimination from the World Cup. Rooney was given a 2 match ban for his red card.
Robinson #1, G Neville #2 (captain when Beckham substituted), Ferdinand #5, Terry #6, A Cole #3, Beckham #7 - captain (Lennon 51 mins- #19 (Carragher 118 mins - #15)), Lampard #8, Hargreaves #16, Gerrard #4, J Cole #11 (Crouch 65 mins - #21), Rooney #9.
Subs Not Used: James #13, Carson #22, Campbell #12, Bridge #14, Carrick #18, Jenas #17, Downing #20, Walcott #23. (Full Squad)
Ricardo #1, Miguel #13, Carvalho #16, Meira #5, Valente #14, Petit #8, Maniche #18, Tiago #19 (Viana 74 mins - #10), Figo #7 - captain (Postiga 86 mins - #23, Ronaldo #17, Pauleta #9 (Sabrosa 63 mins - #11 - captain when Figo substituted).
Subs Not Used: Santos #22, Quim #12, Ferreira #2, Caneira #3, Costa #4, Costinha #6 - suspended, Sabrosa #11, Morte #15, Deco #20 - suspended, Gomes #21.
England Dismissal: Rooney (62 mins)
England Cautions: Terry (30 mins), Hargreaves (107 mins)
Portugal Cautions: Petit (44 mins), Carvalho (111 mins)
Referee: Horacio Elizondo (Argentina)